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Weekly Highlights From the Japanese Press No. 2

Weekly Highlights From the Japanese Press No. 2
Photo by Su San Lee / Unsplash
Covering Weekly Bunshun for March 21, 2024

Weekly Highlights From the Japanese Press No. 2

Weekly Bunshun1, March 21, 2024 Issue

Self-Immolation in Solidarity with Palestine

Machiyama Tomohiro2, like the entire mainstream Japanese press, stands in solidarity with Palestine. But instead of emitting the shrill denunciations that you find elsewhere, he shows his solidarity by bringing to Japanese readers the story of Aaron Bushnell’s self-immolation. Machiyama glorifies Bushnell’s act by preceding it with much discussion of prominent self-immolations carried out in protest of unjust state policy, specifically that of Thich Quang Duc against Ngo Dinh Diem’s suppression of Buddhism in 1963, that of Norman Morrison against US involvement in Vietnam in 1965, and that of a little-known French woman who self-immolated in protest against the Biafra War in 1969 and was made famous in Japan by Shintani Noriko’s debut single, “The Case of Francine.”

Machiyama follows this up with a discussion of Congresswoman of Palestinian descent Rashida Tlaib, who called for all those who oppose Biden for supporting the “massacre” of Palestinian children by Israel to write “uncommitted” on the ballots for the Michigan Democratic Party Primary. He reports that over 100,000 wrote uncommitted, leading to Biden gaining only 620,000 votes. According to Machiyama, since Trump got 759,000 votes in the Republican Primary, Biden will have to reconsider his Israel policy in order to win the election.

He concludes with a subtle appeal. The children of Gaza are losing their arms, legs, and siblings, yet Japan’s Diet members are too focused on discrimination against Kurds, Ainu, and Zainichi to pay any attention to Gaza or the Nōtō Peninsula.

Trump and Nuclear Armament on the Korean Peninsula

Makino Yoshihiro3  writes in the THIS WEEK “International” column that people are concerned about what will happen with China and North Korea if Trump is reelected. The US predicts that China is seeking to attain sufficient military strength to prevent US interference in a Taiwan crisis by 2027. Will Trump continue to strongly oppose China? Regarding North Korea, he declared that if elected, he would recognize their possession of nuclear weapons and loosen economic sanctions in order to negotiate a freeze on further development. If that were to happen, there would be calls in South Korea for a restart of the nuclear weapons program initiated by Park Chung-hee in 1969 and stymied by Nixon. And if South Korea were to acquire nuclear weapons, Japan’s Three Non-Nuclear Principles4 would also come into question.

Victims Are Always Accused of Mental Illness

Nōmachi Mineko5 takes up the case of comedian Iwahashi Yoshiaki who publicly accused his boss of power harassment and Maki Yōko and Nakajima Yūto of shooting him with an airgun. People refuse to believe him because he has publicly stated that he has OCD. Nōmachi says that this is no different from blaming a female victim for entering a man’s bedroom. Whether the victim is a man or a woman, accusers are always belittled and accused of mental illness.Subscribe1

週刊文春 Shūkan Bunshun. The weekly edition of 文藝春秋 Bungei Shunjū, the single most widely read general interest magazine in the country. Known for being the first to discover and publicize major scandals in the world of entertainment. Boasts a circulation of about 600,000 copies each week, significantly more than the next most widely circulated 週刊新潮 Shūkan Shinchō at about 390,000 copies each week.2

町山智浩. An editor, film critic, and popularizer of America in the Japanese press who lives in Berkeley. His series in Weekly Bunshun is on its 714th installment as of the publication of the March 21, 2024 issue. In each installment, he chooses a single English word or term and uses it as a way to discuss a current trend in American politics.3

牧野 愛博. A journalist at the Asahi Shinbun who specializes in Korean affairs. 4

Japan will not make, possess, or permit the placement of nuclear weapons on Japanese territory. Established by Cabinet resolution under Satō Eisaku in 1967.5

能町みね子. A transwoman journalist and writer. Her Weekly Bunshun column, in which she offers her opinion on various current and trendy matters, is on its 588th installment as of the March 21, 2024 issue.

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